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André Borschberg, FN ‘13

Fueled by a drive to push the boundaries of the possible in both technology and human endeavors, André Borschberg is an entrepreneur whose passion for exploration is matched only by his persistence to drive economic, environmental and spiritual growth.

Heading the Solar Impulse project together with Bertrand Piccard, André Borschberg converted the vision of a solar airplane of unlimited autonomy into reality building up the technical team, leading the design, construction and test of the two prototypes as well as organizing the flight missions. The result was the successful completion of the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe in a solar airplane without a drop of fuel. In addition to conceiving the revolutionary aircraft and piloting it around the globe, André he has led the evolution of aviation technology into new, energy efficient solutions that will also serve and transform a number of industries.

In 2015, during the Japan-to-Hawaii leg of the mission, André flew for the first time ever 5 days and 5 nights non-stop over the Pacific Ocean breaking the world record for the longest solo flight in an airplane of any kind. He had previously achieved recognition for the first-ever day and night flight in a solar airplane flying Solar Impulse 1 in 2010, followed by a number of different world records.

A graduate engineer from EPFL and holder of a management science degree from MIT, he also is an entrepreneur of several new projects and startups. Thanks to his wife Yasemin, André discovered yoga and meditation, which have been essential to his successes in both exploration and entrepreneurship. These practices have helped him develop the right mindset to become an explorer. Important was to have and keep the right attitude to constantly welcome and be open to new and unforeseen situations. Developing and flying a solar airplane with unlimited endurance was considered impossible by the aeronautical industry. .

Fascinated by aviation from his early youth, he learnt to fly with the Swiss air force and holds an assortment of professional airplane and helicopter pilot’s licenses. He also does aerobatics in his spare time.

As a leader in pioneering technologies, André enjoys sharing his experiences as a speaker and lending his point of view on topics ranging from ‘Making the Impossible Possible’; ‘The Pivot Point from Explorer to Leader’; to ‘From Vision to Reality’; and ‘Turning Obstacles into Opportunities’.

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste